Turner’s bill would waive residency requirement for U.S. military service members applying for commercial driver’s license
AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101) announced today that the Texas House of Representatives has passed HB 860, a bill which would waive the residency requirement for service members applying for a commercial driver’s license. State Senator Wendy Davis has filed an identical bill, SB 229.
“This bill is an important step in bringing down the high unemployment rate that our veterans are facing right now,” said Turner. “What is an easy part of the application process for most, is extremely difficult if you are active duty or reserve, unexpectedly relocated to Texas, and need to get back to work as soon as possible. I’m proud to continue working with Senator Davis on such an important issue. This is small way we can continue to honor the service of these men and women.”
HB 860 is supported by Texas Veterans Coalition Organizations (TCVO) and the Texas Motor Transport Association (TMTA.)
It’s no secret that our public schools face a lot of challenges right now.
The Legislature cut $5.4 billion in education funding last session, and even though a state judge has recently ruled our school finance system unconstitutional, the Republican leadership isn’t exactly rushing to put more money into education.
So that’s why I introduced two bills last week that would allocate a small portion of the Rainy Day Fund for one-time grants for school security upgrades and career and technology education equipment, for a total of $500 million. This is just over four percent of the $12 billion that is projected to be in the Rainy Day Fund at the end of the next biennium.
These bills would give schools some of the resources they so badly need to protect their students and better train and educate our future workforce.
AUSTIN — Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie is proposing a half-billion-dollar drawdown from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help school districts beef up security and bolster technical training.
The Tarrant County Democrat introduced HB 1770 that would authorize spending $250 million from the Rainy Day Fund to establish a grant program that school districts would use to improve security. HB1771 proposes an identical amount from the fund to help schools buy equipment for career and technology education courses.
School security has emerged as a high priority in the 2013 Legislature after the slaying of 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn., in mid-December.
While some lawmakers have advocated placing armed guards in schools, Turner said his measure would be aimed at “equipment and infrastructure,” such as installing security cameras or strengthening door locks. In school districts that have campus police departments, it could also be used for purchases such as additional vehicles or two-way radios, Turner said.
Turner said both of his measures fully comply with Gov. Rick Perry’s admonition that drawdowns from the Rainy Day Fund should be used only for one-time expenditures, rather than recurring expenses.
“What better one-time expenses would there be than to help our school districts upgrade their security and make our schools safer,” said Turner, who represents House District 101 in eastern Tarrant County.
Turner said his second bill is designed to expand technical training at a time when businesses are calling for more emphasis on educational programs to help fill what they say is a critical shortage of skilled workers.
Chris believes we must invest in education and job training to create more economic opportunity for all Texans, not just a privileged few.
At the local level, Chris understands that the lack of public transportation in Arlington and Grand Prairie is a difficult obstacle for many families who are unable to commute to work or school. Chris believes the state’s transportation priorities should include strategies to upgrade and expand mass transit in major urban areas.
Chris has a 100 percent voting record with the Texas AFL-CIO. In order to help prevent manufacturing layoffs, Chris’s first bill signed into law in 2009 made improvements to the shared work unemployment compensation program. Chris co-authored legislation to exempt many small businesses from paying Texas franchise taxes. Chris also helped pass legislation to expand the back-to-school sales tax holiday to cover school supplies.